A review of the new film “The Great Wall”

Chinese director Zhang Yimou is a huge talent. I was enormously impressed by his films “House Of Flying Daggers” [my review here] and “Hero” [my review here] and, of course, this is the man who was responsible for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. So expectations were high for “The Great Wall”. his first film in the English language and the biggest-ever US/China project with a budget of some £120M.

Sadly the result is a limited success. The best features for me were those which echoed Zhang’s earlier films: visually sumptuous shots, wonderful landscapes, bright colours, drum music, massed ranks of armoured men (and this time women), and great fighting sequences.

What I was not keen on was the emphasis on CGI-generated creatures – the mythical Tao-Tie monsters – and the concessions to a western audience: a weak script with ill-fitting attempts at humour and the inclusion of western stars who seem out of place (Matt Damon and Pedro Tovar who appear to be channeling Butch Cassidy and the Sudance Kid and Willem Dafoe whose character seems irrelevant to the plot).

It’s not a disaster, just a diasappointment.

As for the Great Wall of China itself – a structure I’ve visited at two sections – it ultimately failed to do what it was designed to do and President Donald Trump would do well to take note.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>